Roast potatoes with garlic and fennel seeds.

The last few months I’ve been sprinkling fennel seeds son just about everything. I can’t seem to get enough of them.imageTiny seeds that pack a punch.

We’re having roast salmon fillets (coated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey, sesame oil and of course fennel seeds) for dinner and to go with them roasted potato and sweet potato.  It’s all terribly healthy.

I just cut up the potatoes into 5cm cubes, threw them in a bowl with some olive oil, minced garlic, ground pepper and fennel seeds.imageToss really well to coat it all and bake for about 30 minutes at the hottest your oven goes…imageVery nice….


Gluten free delight – gluten and sugar free banana, date and seed bread.


The no added sugar banana bread I made a few weeks ago proved to be quite popular.  This time around I attempted a gluten free version so my sister could enjoy it too. She was diagnosed a celiac a few years back,  so I try out new recipes with wheat ingredients and then adapt them to make them gluten free.

Gluten free baking is daunting at first, but once you’ve done the research and bought the proper ingredient it can be very rewardng and delicious. A lot of recipes ask for several different flours but I’ve been using Orgran Gluten Free Flour and find the only thing I really need to add is Xanthum gum (which I think some supermarkets stock but I just fill a container from my sisters stock).

I had tried other brands while I was working at a bakery, but Orgran seemed to work the best.

So here’s the Gf, Sf banana bread…..image

In a bowl mix together:

250g gluten free plain flour

2g bicarb

5g baking powder

3g table salt

5g Xanthum gum

Set aside.

Cream 120g butter  with 120g chopped dates and 40g glucose syrup (make sure it’s made from corn and gluten free) until the dates have broken down and blended really well with the butter. Add 1 egg (free range)  and beat well.  Add 280g peeled and roughly chopped banana and mix in.

Next throw in the flour mix and 150g milk (I used soy) at the last minute I also added 60g of seed mix (this is a mix I make up which consists of chia seeds, flaxseeds, pepita seeds and sunflower seeds. It’s great sprinkled on cereal  or  on the top of homemade bread before baking).  Mix well.

Spread mix into a baking paper lined loaf tin and bake at 180c for about 70 – 80 minutes.image

It’s actually surprisingly sweet for something that has no sugar added.



Try, try again…Bagel ll

cin bagel 6

It was a few months back that I tried making bagels with not too much success.  Oh, they tasted good, but they didn’t look right.  I told myself I would try again and last night was the night.

I’ve been looking up different recipes and found this one for cinnamon and raisin bagels on

Once mixed and kneaded and left to prove in a warm place for an hour I checked on the progress.  The dough had not doubled in size.  It had risen only slightly.  Disappointment loomed.

Stubborn as I am, however, I persisted.  As I was cutting and shaping the dough, it actually felt the way a yeasty dough usually does.

There was hope.  I left them to rise again for 30 minutes, as instructed, and they had doubled in size this time. Yippeeeeee.

They smelled great coming out of the oven and tasted even better.

cin bagel 2


Makes 8

450g (1lb) strong white bread flour

3tbsp caster sugar

1½tsp table salt

1¼tsp fast-action dried yeast

2tsp ground cinnamon

115g (4oz) raisins

1 egg yolk, beaten


Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Lightly oil a large baking sheet. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, cinnamon and raisins. Make a well in the centre, pour in 300ml (½pt) hand-hot water and mix to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 7-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for an hour until it has doubled in size. Knock back (punch down once or twice) and knead for 2-3 minutes. Cut into 8 equal pieces and roll into balls. Using a finger covered in plain flour, make  a 2.5cm (1in) hole in the centre of each ball and transfer to the baking sheet. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes until nearly doubled in size. Drop the bagels, one at a time, into a large pan of boiling water and cook for 30 seconds on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and return to the baking sheet. Mix the egg yolk with 1tbsp of water and brush over the bagels. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

cin bagel 3

I believe I’ll be making these again..

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Mushroom, Leek and Goat’s Cheese Quiche

It’s been quite warm for so early in spring. Hard to know what the weather is going to do next.

Casserole and soup time didn’t last very long at all.  Being a big soup and casserole fan, I feel like I’ve missed out.

Oh well, good thing I like salads and quiches too.

My favourite is Quiche Lorraine but I had a leek in the fridge ( that doesn’t sound too good, but you know what I mean) and I couldn’t go past the mushrooms at the green grocer.

The good thing about quiches is you can put just about anything in them, as long as you have enough egg and cream to keep it all from falling apart.

Hope you try and like this veggie version.


Pastry : 250g plain flour

120g butter – cubed

2 – 3 Tbs ice cold water

Filling : 30g butter + 1 Tbs olive oil

1 large leek – finely sliced (about 300g)

200g sliced mushroom

6 eggs

180g thickened cream

salt, pepper and sweet paprika

as much goats feta or cheese you like.

I make the pastry in a food processor. It’s so easy and so much faster. Simply put the flour and butter into the food processor bowl and pulse for a minute until butter and flour resemble breadcrumbs. Add the water and continue mixing until it comes together. Roll the pastry out to cover the base and sides of a 25cm loose bottom tart tin and chill for an hour.

Blind bake tart shell by covering with some baking paper and pouring in some dried beans or rice and baking in a pre-heated 170c oven for 12 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and prick the bottom of the shell with a fork. Put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

For the filling :

Heat the butter and oil in a large fry pan.  Add the leek and sweat for 8 – 10 minutes , stirring often, until wilted but not browned.

Remove from the heat and spread evenly over the baked tart shell.  Arrange the mushroom on top.

In a bowl or large jug, whisk the eggs, cream and seasonings until well combined. Pour over the mushrooms and leeks.


Dot with your goats cheese and bake at 170c for 35 – 40 minutes.Image

This will easily feed 4 – 6 people with a big salad on the side.


“No Added Sugar” Banana Bread

sugar free banana bread 3


Just about everybody loves it. Unfortunately though, too much is a bad thing. Sad but true.

My challenge was to come up with a sweet treat that wasn’t sugar sweetened.

Fruit would be the way to go. In particular Banana’s.

“Banana’s contain sugar” I hear you say. True, but they also contain potassium, are a great source of antioxidant,  taste so darn good and the less ripe the fruit the lower the G.I.  Perfect.

I decided to work with the previously posted Banana and Coffee Bread recipe.

After a few ingredient adjustments and a couple of  trial bakes, the final recipe  resulted in a very moist, ‘ no sugar added’  sweet Banana Bread.

Try it. It’s terribly simple to make and absolutely delicious.

sugar free banana bread 1

You’ll need:

120g butter cut into cubes (I use salted)

120g chopped dates

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

60g milk (I used soy)

150g plain wholemeal flour

100g plain flour

5g baking powder

2g bicarb soda

5g ground cinnamon

250g banana – not too ripe

80g  chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, beat the butter and dates together until the dates are all broken up and mixed really well with the butter.  Add the egg, vanilla and roughly chopped banana and beat until it’s all mashed up.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, bicarb and cinnamon and throw it all into the bowl with the banana. Pour in the milk and mix until combined. Stir in the walnuts.

Spread into a lined loaf tin and bake at 180c for 55 – 60 minutes or until brown.sugar free banana bread 2

My next challenge will be to make it  gluten and sugar free. My sister’s a coeliac and  a tough critic.  I’ll let you know how it goes.


chocolate nutbutter cups

cause baking makes happy


I recently started trying to prepare more sugarfree food. As I wrote in a previous post I prepare many recipes from Belle Gibson (owner of the ‘The Whole Pantry‘ app). These chocolate nutbutter cups are for example sugar-, gluten- and dairy-free and suitable for vegans and raw vegans.

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Fattoush (Lebanese Bread Salad)

image This is a great salad. It goes well with anything or it’s great on its own. I usually make Fattoush as a side when I make roast veggies for dinner. However, chicken breast is on the menu tonight and the tanginess of the sumac in the salad dressing will go brilliantly with it. Sumac is a berry that has been dried and ground into a course powder. at adds a letaste tang to whatever you use it on. Most supermarkets stock it in the herb and spice section now-a-days.


The thing with this salad is you can use whatever salad ingredients you have at hand. You can choose any or all of the ingredients I’ve used and as much or as little as you like. Just mix together the dressing ingredient and set aside. Toss the salad stuff in a large bowl, add the dressing and mix well.

Only add the bread when you’re ready to serve so it stays crunchy.

Salad: Lettuce leaves, chopped tomato, cucumber,  radish, capsicum, parsley,  spring onion, toasted Lebanese bread

Dressing: 2 tbs olive oil 1 1/2 tsp sumac 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper 1 tbs lemon juice 2  cloves crushed garlic